Archaeologic Assessment at Butts Hill Fort Released
October 6, 2022
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The Battle of RI Association (BoRIA) is pleased to announce that an archaeologic assessment of Butts Hill Fort has been completed. This work was done by Joseph (Jay) Waller, an archaeologist with the Public Archaeology Laboratory (PAL), one of the leading firms in New England. BoRIA expresses thanks to Mr. Waller and PAL who did this work pro bono.
In “Technical Memorandum, Butts Hill Fort Restoration Master Plan, Portsmouth, Rhode Island – Archaeological Reconnaissance and Assessment August 2022”, Mr. Waller reviews the history of the Fort and all previous archaeological surveys in the vicinity.
These are Mr. Waller’s Recommendations:
1. The Butts Hill Fort is a significant historical feature associated with the American Revolution. The site is listed in the National Register of Historic Places, is a National Historic Landmark, and is a contributing site to the Washington-Rochambeau Trail.
2. Any potential ground disturbing work at the fort, including archaeological investigations, may require compliance with relevant federal and state historic preservation regulations and laws.
3. Future work at this National Historic Landmark may require consultation with the National Park Service.
4. Mr. Waller recommends that the committee avoid or minimize future ground disturbing activities within and around the fort to the best extent possible. Future walkways and paths should be raised above existing grade to cap and protect the historical and archaeological features below as opposed to impacting them. Fill, such as mulch, coarse sand, or crushed stone should be placed atop permeable geotextile fabric or some other type of landscaping barrier. Such protective measures are impermanent and reversible and will not adversely affect the contents of the site and its future research potential.
5. Much of the fort is vegetated. Large trees and secondary vegetative growth to be removed should be cut flush to the ground. Signage, flagpoles, or other features should be replaced in-kind or in disturbed areas of the site if at all possible to avoid further impacting the site.
As the Fort is a National Historic Trust property under the direction of the Rhode Island Historical Preservation and Heritage Commission (RIHPHC), the report was sent to Ms. Charlotte Taylor, the Commission’s archaeologist, for comments. Ms. Taylor wrote “It’s a thorough overview of the site and should be a very valuable aid to ongoing planning. Jay’s recommendations are on point, and we concur with them all.” and “RIHPHC continues to commend your committee for your stewardship of this important site…”
Want to read the whole report?
Click on link below to read the whole archaelogical report
Butts Hill Fort Draft Archaeological Assessment-29-AUG-2022
Click on the link below to read letter from Charlotte Taylor of the Rhode Island Historic Preservation and Heritage Commission.
RIHPHC letter commenting on J Waller archaeologic assessment on BHF 220913